Food fix: Eat more plant-based foods.
Eating lots of high-quality plant foods and low amounts of animal-based foods, refined grains, added sugars, and unhealthy fats is good for your heart. What does that have to do with your ears? Just as is the case for the rest of your body, adequate blood flow is important for proper ear function. A plant-based diet can help enhance this by improving cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. It also helps to protect against oxidative damage and to reduce inflammation. “I tell all my patients with hearing loss to follow a heart-healthy diet,” says Erika Woodson, MD, an otolaryngologist at the Cleveland Clinic. “If it’s good for your heart, it’s going to be good for your ears as well.”
More than specific foods, though, what seems to matter most is following a healthy eating plan. In one 2018 study involving more than 81,000 women, those whose diets most closely matched one of three heart-healthy eating patterns—alternate Mediterranean, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), and 2010 Alternative Healthy Eating Index—had a 30 percent lower risk of developing hearing loss over the 22-year study period.
To make it easy, at each meal fill half your plate with fruits and veggies (but limit starchy ones, such as potatoes). The other half should be made up of whole grains and plant-based protein, such as tofu, lentils, or nuts, most days, with modest amounts of fish, lean meat, and poultry less often.